Submitted by Samuel Jefferson Kennard
Amelia City, Florida
June 25, 2019 1:00 a.m.
It is shocking to understand that the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport Advisory Board is entertaining a proposal to convert the Amelia River Golf Course into a M1 Concourse like the one in Pontiac, Michigan.
The M1 Concourse facility in Michigan occupies 87 acres and is centered on its 1.5-mile performance-racing track and is known for “all things motor sports”. For more information google M1 Concourse, Pontiac, Michigan.
The project is being promoted as a means of generating incremental revenue. This desire to “make more money” comes at the expense of quality of life, the main reason people choose to make Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island their home.
First, historic Fernandina Beach on small Amelia Island is obviously not metro Detroit.
Second, developing a pristine natural golf recreational amenity into a concrete and steel performance track with its loud noise and increased traffic is not compatible with the shape and character of Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island.
Third, a conclusion of the EAR (Evaluation, Appraisal and Review) process of the Fernandina Beach Comprehensive Plan is that citizen’s overwhelming desire to conserve land and open spaces. This M1 proposal would not be in compliance with the public’s proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan of Fernandina Beach. It would be swapping an attractive and serene open property for an unattractive developed asset with noise pollution and increased traffic.
Fourth, a M1 Concourse would not be a welcome neighbor for Crane Island and other residential neighborhoods that are near the Amelia River Golf Course.
Fifth, the FDOT has already cited problems resulting from traffic congestion on Amelia Island Parkway and Buccaneer Trail, without the added volume resulting from a M1 Concourse.
Clearly, a M1 Concourse development project is much better suited for rural Nassau County and not on Amelia Island.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Jefferson Kennard’s Florida roots go back to the early nineteenth century. His pioneer ancestor signed the Territory of Florida’s First Constitution in 1838 and others have lived continuously on Amelia Island for 150 years. Kennard is the great grandson of a Cumberland Sound pilot.
Kennard is founding chairman of Stand for Amelia Island, Inc., a not for profit State of Florida Corporation dedicated to advocating solutions for important issues affecting the general public welfare of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island and Nassau County.
Kennard was graduated from the University of Georgia and attended Harvard Business School executive development programs. Kennard is married and he and his wife, Karin live on Amelia Island.